When the Moon Shines in Andover, the Sun Shines in Kisii
Every November, we hold our annual fundraiser in Andover, MA, which we call Moonshine. The sentiment of the event—when the moon shines in Andover, the sun shines in Kisii—speaks to the ever-present connection we have with the Okari School and the children who we help through the generosity of many. On our visits to Okari in Kisii, Kenya, we always get more than we could ever give. This event is homage to the open-hearted gifts these children give to us. As they sleep, we shoot for the moon to keep our promises to them. As we sleep, their endless enthusiasm for life keep us dreaming of more ways to keep the sun in their smiles.
The event program includes a recap of the previous year’s progress and insights into our future initiatives. The auction portion of the night always elicits great enthusiasm. The children of Okari are very artistically expressive and we love to showcase their talents. We have auctioned wired sculptures, drawings, and poetry—all professionally framed and presented. Karole Mo, of Karole Mo Art, lends her flawless artist’s sensibilities to beautiful artwork of the children’s creations. Friends of Okari consistently respond with deep generosity and we are as deeply grateful.
Moonshine 2014: Water!
Held at the Log Cabin at Philips Academy on Saturday, November 8; 7 p.m.
This year’s Moonshine event will be a celebration of all things water! One of the most prohibitive challenges that Okari has faced is the availability and collection of clean water. Previous fundraising efforts have enabled us to hire a local man and donkeys to fetch water. The hard-working donkeys at Okari have become emblematic of our efforts to keep the children in school. Even with the help of the donkeys, children still fetch water—and that water is not necessarily clean.
The New Clean-Water Well
That prompted the latest fundraising campaign: to have a clean-water, self-maintaining well on the Okari property. We are thrilled to announce the completion of fundraising, spearheaded by the Rotary Club of Andover, MA, for the new clean-water well. Construction is slated to begin in the summer of 2015 by Water Missions International. Andover Rotarian, Craig Saline, will be speaking to the crowd with updates on the project.
To ensure the continued safety of the well water, Water Defense has graciously offered to provide periodic testing of the water. Founded by Mark Ruffalo, Actor/Writer/Producer, with Scott Smith, Chief Scientist, and John Pratt, Executive Director, Water Defense’s mission is to use technology and public engagement to keep our waterways and drinking water sources free from contamination and industrial degradation.
Little by Little
The Okari children are celebrating the impending arrival of clean water and we have complied their poetry all about water, along with poetry from the U.S. and UK into a chapbook titled, Little by Little. Limited additions will be available at Moonshine. Little by Little can also be purchased at littlebylittlebook.org.
Re-Branded and Revitalized!
During our visits to the Okari School, the children often told us not to forget them. How could we? We promised them we would tell the world about them. To keep that promise, we are reinforcing our committment to grow and reach more people with their story. With the keen insights of Cynthia Artin of Artin Arts guiding us, we have a new look and website and are launching a social media strategy that will give the Margaret Okari Children’s Foundation increased exposure.
At the heart of our vision for the children of Okari is to provide them with educational equity. They continue to be top performers in their region and have the talent and capacity to become the first STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) school/orphanage in Kenya. It’s a goal worth working towards and we will begin to lay the groundwork for this in 2015.
United Nations Women’s Entrepreneurial Day
A group of a dozen women involved with Margaret Okari Children’s Foundation will be traveling to NYC on November 19 to attend the inaugural launch of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, celebrated at the United Nations and livestreamed in 144 countries during Global Entrepreneurship Week. The group is particularly excited because Kwamboka is being named the advisor to the Global Women’s Entrepreneur Day team from Kenya, and in 2015 will be the Kenyan chairperson.